The English Pointer is a gentle dog, and their endearing qualities make them very loveable, perfect for a family pet. They have a noble appearance and in the past, have been firm favourites in the world of hunting. Some highlights:
English Pointers are a gentle and sensitive breed, despite originally being bred for hunting.
The breed is patient and so an English Pointer can work well in a family home with children and other pets.
Their hunting instinct means that they are playful, but not aggressive.
If exercised regularly, an English Pointer is happy to relax with you after a long day.
The English Pointer’s active lifestyle makes them unsuitable for owners who are unable to exercise them regularly. Their nervous disposition means they will suit a loving and patient environment better. Some downsides to the English Pointer:
The English Pointer is highly energetic and will need an active owner.
English Pointers are easily distracted and stubborn, so they must be disciplined from a young age.
Their lack of aggression makes them unsuitable for a guard dog, but they can bark when nervous.
There is much debate about the origin of English Pointers. The earliest record of the breed dates back to the 1650s, where they were used to chase out hare. It is well-recognised that the Bloodhound, the Greyhound, the Foxhound and the Bull Terrier all played a part in the English Pointer’s evolution to the modern-day Pointer. Traditionally, Irish Setters were used as hunting dogs and it was not until the 1900s that English Pointers were recognised to be on par with setters. Even today, the English Pointer is still one of the most popular hunting dogs in the UK. It is thought that English Pointers’ name developed from the way they hunted. Having caught the trail of its chase, the English Pointer stops motionless with its head lowered and its nose pointing towards the scent of the quarry.
A male English Pointer tends to be around 62-70cm tall, whilst females stand at 58-66cm.
English Pointer males, on average, are 25-35kg and females are slightly lighter at 20-30kg.
The English Pointer’s coat can come in a variety of shades, whether solid or patterned. Generally English Pointers are white with either liver, lemon, orange or black markings. They can, however, be any of these colours. Solid coloured English Pointers are rare and usually, their coat is made up of two of these combinations of colours.
English Pointers are an even-tempered breed and are not recognised as being particularly successful guard dogs because of their lack of aggression.
Due to their origin as hunting dogs, the English Pointer responds well to instruction, especially from a young age, making them ideal for first-time owners. However, it is worth noting that English Pointers can be stubborn and strong-willed in their ways, so an owner must be prepared to be patient and vary their routine to keep them entertained!
English Pointers love being part of a pack and work particularly well in a family environment. They will show affection towards children, becoming fiercely loyal towards their family.
This is a less aggressive breed and so they will happily live side by side with other animals. An English Pointer’s laid back attitude means they are sociable and happy around other dogs. Although supervision may be needed around smaller animals due to the English Pointer’s excitable nature.
English Pointers can become destructive or nervous when left alone. It is important to give them vigorous exercise before leaving the dog alone and never to leave them for more than 5 hours at a time. English Pointers form strong bonds with their owners and will work best in a home where at least one member of the family can remain at home with them.
An English Pointer likes water and enjoys a swim. They should never be forced into swimming though and should always be left to enter the water at their own free will.
An English Pointer will live longer than smaller breeds with a lifespan of around 12-15 years.
This is an athletic breed and must be kept active to avoid the dog from becoming destructive. English Pointers will benefit from a least one large walk a day, but a jog or run-around would be even better since they are a galloping breed.
English Pointers are generally a healthy breed. However, they can be prone to hip dysplasia, causing lameness or painful arthritis. An English Pointer can also develop eye disorders or epilepsy. As with all large and deep-chested breeds, the owner should know the signs of sudden bloat, a condition in the stomach which can prove fatal. Regular exercise is primordial for general well-being. As with most breeds, allergies can occur and it is important to take them to the vets on the first sign of a flare-up.
English Pointers are a medium to large-sized dog and will not suit apartment life. Their independent nature means they enjoy their own space and will appreciate an area which they can have to themselves. They often tend to find a sofa or chair in the house which they will habitually frequent and claim as their own!
The English Pointer will benefit from higher quality dog food. Being a more athletic breed, perhaps consider feeding them food with high protein levels. If the English Pointer is not exercised enough they can easily become overweight, and so their weight must be monitored.
English Pointers have a short, smooth coat which does not require too much regular maintenance. Weekly brushing with a firm bristle brush to help remove dirt and hair will keep your Pointer looking in excellent condition. An English Pointers’ ears should also be regularly inspected and their toenails kept short.
An English Pointer is a regular shedder, and this can be helped with weekly grooming.
As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £600-1100 for a well-bred English Pointer puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £70-100 per month, depending on the amount of protein you intend to feed your dog.
You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your English Pointer Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some English Pointer puppy buying advice:
It is important to remember that the physical traits of English Pointer puppies are easier to predict than its temperament. But with regular exercise, a comfortable environment and early training, the English Pointer will become an even-tempered dog. If you are looking for a family pet, it would be better to buy a puppy from owners whose dogs have been in a similar environment. Buying a puppy from a line of working dogs could produce a less affectionate and more active dog. Always try to meet both parents before purchasing your English Pointer puppy and confirm that the parents have not been farmed. If adopting an older English Pointer, it is worth bearing in mind that they need extra special care due to the increase of health conditions arising.
A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/pointer/ https://www.englishpointerrescue.co.uk/ https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/findapuppy/Default.aspx?id=Pointer https://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/pointer